10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Keaton 5 stars, Kino 0
, November 17, 2011
This review is from: Sherlock Jr. / Three Ages [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
SHERLOCK Jr. is widely considered, along with THE GENERAL, to be a Keaton masterpiece.
In fact, critical opinion has shifted away from Chaplin--a brilliant mime but sentimental, naive politically,
and ingratiating to the point of being painful to watch sometimes--and toward Keaton as the major
innovator who really understood, almost immediately, the difference between making a movie
and just filming warmed-over vaudeville routines. SHERLOCK, Jr. even feels positively
"post-modern" in its self-reflection, it's that far ahead of its time. It's brilliant! So: always 5 stars from me
for the tough genius of Keaton.
But Kino is another matter. They've done a decent transfer of SHERLOCK, Jr.--though not the best Blu-ray B&W I've seen.
The issue for me here is THREE AGES; Kino seems to have done nothing in terms of cleaning up the transfer.
As another reviewer has commented, it looks terrible! It doesn't look any different than the version
in the original Kino box set of Keaton features and shorts released in the early '90s.
The reason, I think, is revealed in the restoration philosophy announced in Kino's Blu-ray 3-disc release of all 19 of the early shorts.
Some have 2 versions, the original and a 2nd transfer with digitally enhanced noise reduction for those of us
who prefer a more "polished look"--their words. Apparently this goes against their video principles,
since digital cleaning "subtly undermines the integrity of the image." Give me a break.
What's the point of releasing a Blu-ray version of "films that show wear" with no cleaning up of the transfer?
All the process does then is give us a more detailed look at the flaws. To me it sounds like an excuse
for sloppiness, or laziness. They could take a lesson from Criterion's handling of B&W Blu-rays, which are worth the extra money
because they look better. I was planning on eventually buying Kino's Blu-rays of the other Keaton features they've released.
But why just duplicate what I already have in those previous releases?
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